Hutto City Council approves third party lawyer for Mike Snyder investigation

Hutto City Council unanimously approved hiring Ross Fischer, a central Texas-based attorney, to lead investigations into Council Member Mike Snyder at its Aug. 29 meeting.

Ross Fischer is an attorney in the greater Austin area with more than 20 years of experience, he said at the Aug. 29 meeting. Fischer was recommended by Hutto Mayor Doug Gaul after Gaul had reached out to mayors in surrounding cities for guidance in selecting a third party lawyer.

Fischer said his career has focused on the intersection of "municipal law and professional ethics," and has included investigative work for cities and public entities along with contractual work as a city attorney. Fischer previously served as a commissioner on the Texas Ethics Commission.

“I’m familiar with ethical standards that are out there and I’m familiar with ethical standards of municipal governments," he said, later adding he prioritizes transparency with municipal entities during the investigative process.

As part of his investigation, Fischer said he will work with a specific point of contact who is unaffiliated with the council or case to avoid potentially compromising the investigation. He added he will talk with key witnesses related to the allegations and identify where, if anywhere, a breach of the charter has occurred, and will bring the information before council members for them to make final decisions.

Council Member Tanner Rose asked how Fischer will control the scope of the investigation, adding he does not want Fischer's analysis to potentially turn into a "fishing expedition."

Fischer responded that the scope of his investigation will pertain specifically to the section of the charter Snyder allegedly violated and, if any potentially controversial information beyond the scope is uncovered, that will be brought before council for their deliberations and potential expansion of the investigation, if warranted.

Council Member Scott Rose asked that, in addition to the parameters implemented by the council's motion, the council receives a 30-day status check-in from Fischer on the investigation to keep the council readily informed on the proceedings.

"There’s no reason this couldn’t be wrapped up in I think a month or so," Fischer said. "There’s no reason for this to drag on.”